By Metropolitan Amphilochios of New Zealand
One day, on the second biggest Fiji island, Vanua Levu, the person in charge of the Mission for the island, Father Barnabas, along with the hieromonk Savvas visited the hospital at the city of Labasa in order to comfort a patient. As they were talking with the patient, they heard unnatural loud screams coming from the other side of the corridor, and being alarmed by those grisly screams, they moved towards there in order to help.
In an adjoining room there was a girl lying in bed, who was blocking her ears with her hands, was twisting her head left and right and was screaming in a hair-raising way. The nurses were just standing aside, unable to understand what had happened and too scared to do anything.
Father Savvas approached a nurse and told her: “We are from the Greek Orthodox Church. Could we just make the sign of the cross over her?” Then he takes out the cross which had the True Cross inside and started making the sign of the cross on her face. The more he did so, the more she screamed. In the end, the priest put the cross into her mouth and immediately she calmed down. It was obvious she was possessed, and with the power of the True Cross the evil spirit finally left.
This incident reminds us of the words of the hymn of the Octoechos: “Great is the power of your Cross, O Lord”. Christ came to the world and was crucified for the salvation of all people. That is why the power of the Holy Cross is not only restricted to Christians, but also to any person under the power of Satan.
The cure of this Fijian girl through the touch of the True Cross as well as the faith of the fathers who thought of making the sign of the cross over her, was the best sermon for herself, her own family and everyone else who witnessed this miracle.
When Christ said to his Disciples that he would be with them all along in their proclaiming of His Gospel, this is exactly what he meant: His living presence witnessed by the signs and wonders that would follow.
Therefore, the Missionary work is done by Christ Himself, who uses as a means ordinary people, like the Fijian Father Barnabas and the simple Monk Savvas. Mission is not a matter of wordly wisdom but a matter of faith “acting through love”.